WA bishop hired paedophile priest despite previous sex abuse, letters reveals

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WA Today

13 July 2017

Documents tendered to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have revealed that Bunbury Bishop John Goody agreed to hire a priest in 1959 – despite knowing he had previously sexually abused a number of boys.

In June 1958, Father William Kevin Glover was removed as a superior and parish priest in Victoria for “immoral and criminal sexual behaviour with boys and male adolescents”.

A letter submitted to the Royal Commission dated September 15, 1959, from Bunbury Bishop John Goody to Marist Fathers ...

A letter submitted to the Royal Commission dated September 15, 1959, from Bunbury Bishop John Goody to Marist Fathers Provincial James Harcombe.

He was given a formal canonical warning and sent to a 30-day penitential retreat in Armidale, NSW.

Having been assigned a new parish, Glover was brought to Sydney in July 1959 and given a second canonical warning for committing similar offences.  An ad in the Esperance Express seeking witnesses to the priest's abuses.

An ad in the Esperance Express seeking witnesses to the priest’s abuses. 

Despite this, an agreement was reached in early September that Father Glover would be accepted into the Catholic Diocese of Bunbury on a three-year trial, following an appeal for priests from Bunbury’s Bishop Goody.

Father Glover went on to minister in Esperance, which was part of the Diocese of Bunbury from 1959 and was shifted to Margaret River in 1979 where he remained until his retirement in 1992. He died six years later.

The commission has recorded five allegations of child sexual abuse filed in WA between 1997 and 2014 against Father Glover for offending in the Diocese of Bunbury between 1967 and 1986.

Earlier this year, Porters Lawyers began to prepare a lawsuit on behalf of three people in WA who say they were victims of Father Glover.

A further allegation was received in Victoria in 1998 for alleged offending in 1956.

But documents tendered to the Royal Commission reveal his offending in WA could have been avoided.

In a letter dated September 15, 1959, Bishop Goody wrote to Marist Fathers Provincial James Harcombe in New South Wales requesting approval to relocate Father Glover to WA.

“I received a letter from Father Glover, asking me whether I would consider receiving him for some work in this Diocese of Bunbury,” Bishop Goody wrote.

“His letter was a very frank one, telling me of his troubles.

“I always feel the greatest of sympathy for a priest who has had a fall and I replied to Father Glover that I would be prepared to accept him [on a three year trial] in this Diocese if all the Canonical requirements are observed.

“Bunbury is so distant from the Eastern States of Australia that I feel that here he would have the opportunity of a fresh start with a completely clean sheet.”

Father Harcombe then wrote to the Superior General in Rome to update him on the plans to hire Father Glover.

The letter described how a doctor treating Father Glover at Richmond was “convinced that if he remained, Father Glover would have done untold damage.”

“[The doctor] said to tell you from his experience of Father Glover at Richmond, this is the only solution to what he considers would have been a catastrophe for the Society [of Mary],” Father Harcombe wrote.

“In a Diocese however, he will stand alone and will succeed or fail with a Bishop by the way he acts and speaks. He knows that this is his only chance and we feel that he will do anything to prove himself with the Bishop.”

The commission has recorded five allegations of child sexual abuse filed in WA between 1997 and 2014 against Father Glover for offending in the Diocese of Bunbury between 1967 and 1986.

One was also received in Victoria in 1998 for alleged offending in 1956.

Earlier this year, Porters Lawyers began to prepare a lawsuit on behalf of three people who say they were victims of Father Glover.

The Bunbury Mail

2 Responses to WA bishop hired paedophile priest despite previous sex abuse, letters reveals

  1. Sylvia says:

    “I always feel the greatest of sympathy for a priest who has had a fall ”

    A “fall.” How could anyone , particularly a bishop, conceive that a priest sexually abusing young boys was simply no more than ” a fall” ?

    What about the millstones? Had the tolerant bishop truly never ever stumbled upon the bible verses which reference the fate of those who cause ‘one of these little ones’ to stray”?

  2. Geenda says:

    What about the life sentence for the children of that “fall”

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